VINA & VINA CRAFTING
Throughout his career, Dr. Karaikudi S. Subramanian has worked towards preserving the veena and its crafting.
Brhaddhvani has organized a number of events for the revival and documentation of the veena tradition, including festivals of veena as a solo instrument and festivals of veena as an accompanying instrument as a revival of an older tradition.
Patronization of veena crafting has become greatly reduced throughout the last half a century, and veena craftsmen suffer on account of lack of patronage. This is intensified by the increasing popularity of the electronic veenas. At Brhaddhvani, veena craftsmen have been patronized since the early 90s. Subramanian has initiated projects to support and preserve the art of veena crafting and veena craftsmen. He has collaborated with the German instrument maker Norbert Beyer to bring about an elaborate illustrative book in German on veena craftsmanship.
With the support from India Foundation for the Arts, Brhaddhvani in collaboration with Dharani – a school of performing arts in Kochi – documented the temple music of Kerala called Sopanam. The Sopanam tradition is older longer than Carnatic music, but the former is now almost extinct. It is only performed in a few temples and as an accompaniment to the Indian classical dance form Kathakali. The focus of the project was on identification, documentation and notation of the ragas and talas in Sopanam music and hereby make it more accessible to people, in particular musicians and dancers.
Apart from the audio and video documentations of the music, the music was documented through notations. For the notation of the music, Subramanian made use of his own notational system svarasthana notation.
As a result of the project, Sopanam music has become more accessible than it would have been otherwise. The music tradition is now documented on 5 DV tapes, 75 audio tapes, 5 mini discs and 1 VHS tape and over 100 slides and almost 500 photographs.